Perhaps you've been out on walks and noticed a yellow ribbon on a dog's leash or collar. This is a universal symbol that this dog needs a bit of space. The Yellow Dog Project is an international campaign designed to help dogs who enjoy being out and about but might be nervous, injured or in service.
In short, it is like yellow caution tape for dogs saying "Do not cross."
A Yellow ribbon on a dog isn't necessarily a sign to others that this is a dangerous dog. As many of the dogs on the above illustration show, a dog might be in training, sick, or need space from other dogs because she is in season.
The yellow ribbin also isn't an excuse not to train an animal. Nor does it give you any legal protection from people who may still approach your dog. Simply use it as a conversation starter. For example, when someone seems interested in your dog, you might say, "See his yellow caution ribbon? That ribbon is a message that my dog needs extra room. Thanks for understanding."
A yellow ribbon isn't something to be ashamed of, either. Wear your ribbon proudly to demonstrate how much progress your pup has made working on social skills, getting over an abusive history or is recovering well from sickness.
It's important to tell others about what a yellow ribbon on a dog means, particularly children. While you're at it, also share the proper way to approach a strange dog on a leash. This includes asking the owner for permission, not hugging or petting the dog's head, as this may feel threatening to a dog. Instead, let the dog sniff a hand extended low. A touch on the chest might be a good first touch.
For more information and tips, visit the Yellow Dog Project's website.
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